Do you tell stories that connect, or just market and promote your audience like an algorithm?
In the midst of the chaos around us, we long for connection. So B2B marketers are well advised to answer the call for clarity, like their B2C cohorts, and tell stories that evoke emotions and make their customers feel like they are being heard.
There’s a pretty simple, well-known fact: people buy from people. According to a recent study by Allison + Partners, 58% of B2B marketers believe that humanizing their brand will lead to higher sales.
Wondering how you can put this belief into practice? Simply show yourself as a person when communicating about your company. This applies to both the language and tone you choose, as well as the messaging of your stories.
It also means banning phrases like “use this” or “get involved”. Or, in extreme cases, “accelerates awareness of an iconic product”. Ouch! If you work in branding or marketing, you must have gotten used to these phrases and have become deaf at how inhuman they sound.
Get over the idea that you have to “sound professional”. That can lead to a number of buzzwords that don’t make anyone sound human. Grandiose language, lengthy sentences, and academic adornments are also not warm and fuzzy and do not connect on a personal level.
A reporter recently shared with us: “One day I’ll find the courage to tell marketers that if they simply speak in clear, descriptive English, they’ll actually get their news out more effectively.”
Let’s look at Basecamp as an example. The marketers use a style that aligns with the company’s mission: to simplify complicated things like project management. On the homepage they deal with today’s reality of remote work: “In front of the base camp: You’re wondering how to quickly move your team to remote work. People are stressed, work feels scattered, projects are sliding down, and it’s difficult to see and manage everything. After the base camp: Soon you will feel like “Hey, we have this”. Everything will be organized in one place, your team will work together (even if they are separated), you will keep track of things and a sense of calm will set in. “
Who wouldn’t breathe a sigh of relief after reading it?
After the State Street asset management company launched the SHE (SPDR SSGA Gender Diversity Index ETF) fund, which tracks large-cap companies with a high percentage of women in executive and director positions, they used Fearless Girl – the statue of the little girl who stands on Wall Street Bull stares the market for a bigger initiative: sparking conversation about the importance of gender diversity in corporate governance. Within hours of its overnight secret placement, Fearless Girl had over 1 billion Twitter impressions and generated over 10 billion impressions across social, print and digital media across six continents. The SHE fund grew 8% to $ 315 million after the campaign. and as of 2017, 789 of the 1,463 companies found not to have a woman on their boards have added a director and two more have committed to add one.
The lesson is that marketers who can induce joy, connection, or laughter are the most memorable and have a tremendous advantage in taking their customers for the trip.
So where do you start
Be funny Feature people! Borrow tropes from film and television to get your point across. Manger from the tactics of the best direct-to-consumer brands! Cross-pollination!
This is all good advice, but it can be difficult to turn the lynchpin from stories with product features that start and end with ROI into stories with human characters.
Here are seven ideas:
- Find the hero in your company – even better, someone deep inside your company – who is most like your customer.
- Revisit your founding story. A founding story can resonate with customers and interested parties. It can provide an emotional buy-in and a window into the soul of your company. It has to connect with what you offer to whom and why you are different.
- Run storytelling workshops with a diverse group of team members to ensure your company story resonates.
- Celebrate your customers. Go beyond the case study.
- Share something stupid This starts a conversation that leads back to your brand.
- Identify enemies, obstacles, puzzles and traps. Show how you can help overcome them.
- Check the jargon on the door. When you use jargon to describe who you are, what you do, how you work, or why your solution is better than your competitor’s, you will sound like everyone else.
The humanization of your B2B marketing leads to more innovation and more empathy among your employees. You’ll also have a lot more fun telling these stories along the way.